Cape Breton should be aggressively marketed as a must-see destination for tourists
Cape Breton should be aggressively marketed as a hot-spot for tourists
The free unsolicited accolades which Cape Breton receives keep coming. National Geographic Magazine recently published a book entitled The Ten Best of Everything in the World — cities, hotels, trains, hiking and so forth. The Cape Breton Highlands made the top 10 in locations to hike.
Likewise, other travel writers have saved the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism and Culture and the tourist industry over the years huge dollars by promoting our island. Even after-thefact promotion of events in Cape Breton have been useful. For example, the successful BikeFest 2009: Thunder in the Highlands was celebrated in an article by Glenn Roberts in the December 2009 edition of Motorcyle Mojo, the leading motorcycle magazine in Canada. The photos of the Fortress of Louisbourg by Roberts and Harold Nesbitt were especially effective as promotion for that famous historic site. They speak well of a venue where the bikers were welcomed with open arms. In his article, Roberts praises the scenery, the people and the events. Terrific publicity and all free.
Successful venues breed success. Scott Boyd, the chairman and co-founder of BikeFest, tells me that as many as 10,000 bikers, and maybe more, may be coming to BikeFest 2010 in early August. The festival will be promoted vigorously by several partners, including the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism.
The Canadian Motocycle Touring Club has chosen BikeFest as its first major event. To promote this event, the new website www.capebretonbikefest.com will be launched on Thursday. As well, comments on BikeFest will be encouraged on Twitter and Facebook.
That’s not all. BikeFest and its partners, including Fortress Louisbourg, will attend the Atlantic Motorcycle and ATV convention in Moncton, Friday through Sunday. At least 17,000 people attend this event yearly. Therefore, the potential for business networking is high. At the convention, Boyd and his partners will be vigorously promoting Cape Breton as a destination. Scott tells me there have already been several enquiries about BikeFest 2010.
The truth is that in the highly competitive world of tourism we must promote or perish. That said, I’d like to see more standalone advertising of Cape Breton. My wish is that the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism would affirm and publicize more the accolades that our island receives. Between 2004 and 2008, when I was a member of the board of Destination Cape Breton, this did not occur to any great extent. We were lumped in with other areas and therefore only received the briefest mention.
Nevertheless, there has been an improvement in tourism’s approach recently. It supported, for example, Destination Cape Breton in 2007 and 2008 when our island received awards from Travel and Leisure magazine (based on readers’ comments), as one of the prime destinations in the world for pristine landscape and friendly people. It flew the CEO of the DCBA to New York the first year to receive an award and the president of the DCBA board the second. As well, in 2007, Tourism Nova Scotia purchased an ad on Cape Breton in the above magazine.
If the number of flyers and brochures that I receive weekly from the cruise lines is any indication, repeat promotions of an area never hurt. For example, Destination Cape Breton, in partnership with Enterprise Cape Breton and the tourist industry, have planned a 24-page spread of standalone advertising in the April edition of Saltscapes. This spread will be circulated in Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes.
While Cape Breton sells itself, it’s nice to have a little help from our friends.